One million bees later: How two UMKC students started their own business

They say if you’re doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, but Michael Mullally says that’s not true.

Mullally, a finance major in the Bloch School at UMKC, runs a beekeeping business with a friend. He and his friend, Dylan Wahlen, became beekeepers back in high school as a hobby, but they would later turn that hobby into a small business.

Before coming to UMKC, Mullally wanted to be an engineer. He said one of his high school professors inspired him through his own beekeeping to get into the trade during his senior year. Mullally said the engineering teacher also taught him several things about beekeeping.

“It was a couple of hours before graduation, we were out on our land, installing our hives,” Mullally said.

Mullally later had the idea to turn their hobby into a small business, “MD’s Bees.” Initially, the boys only sold to their family and friends, but later became a business recognized by the state of Missouri.

MD’s Bees had their LLC application approved in January of last year, officially recognizing them as a business by the state of Missouri.

Over the summer, Mullally and Wahlen went from two hives to five. They are now supporting more than one million bees. With that many bees, plus the resources available at UMKC, Mullally seems confident in the future of MD’s Bees.

“The honey sells itself,” he said. “The only thing we really have to market are our soaps, candles and lip balm.”

Mullally said that UMKC has a wealth of resources for anyone looking to start their own business. He credits Bloch School Professor David Lloyd for helping him with many of the legal aspects getting MD’s Bees up and running.

Mullally also said social media has helped them make sales and spread the word about their business.

“There’s a ton of resources here at UMKC that you can use in the Bloch School,” he said.

Besides that, Mullally suggests to do lots of research, make connections and be ready to work hard.

Starting your own business means constantly working – he never really gets a day off.

“I would rather be pissed off out in the field working with the bees any day than working at my old job,” he said.

MD’s Bees can be found on Facebook, @mdsbees on Instagram and MDsBees on Etsy.

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